Luke Perry’s tragic death puts spotlight on stroke symptoms and treatment.

As news spreads of actor Luke Perry’s passing from a massive stroke, fans across the country are learning more about his medical condition and what led to his death.

Luke Perry (image courtesy of JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Perry’s death at 52 years old has shocked many.

However it is a reminder to people of the risk factors behind a stroke. There are some that cannot be controlled, like age and genetics, but there are other risk factors which can be controlled. High blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes and high cholesterol are all risk factors which can be controlled through valuable preventative care.

When a Stroke Happens, CHRISTUS Health Stroke Teams are There for You

There’s an old saying in health care when it comes to stroke: Time is brain.

With the onset of the signs of stroke, doctors generally report you’ve got about 4.5 hours to receive the medicine to reverse its course and potentially save your life. Certain large strokes can be considered outside of the window based on radiological imaging.

Consider this: stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association.

Each year, an estimated 795,000 people suffer from a a stroke. About two-thirds of those stroke patients were 65 years old or older.

But do most people even know what a stroke actually is?

It’s basically like a heart-attack in your brain: Poor blood flow restricts access to brain cells, ultimately causing poor blood flow causing an area of the brain to die and sometimes can be lethal.

“Symptoms can come on strong, or subtle, and sometimes people might not even be aware they are having one. But if you know what to look for, and who to call, a stroke can be more manageable and treatable than ever before; nearly 80 percent of all strokes are preventable,” explained Mari-Carmen Kennedy, RN, SCRN, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System’s Stroke Program Coordinator

CHRISTUS Health has many nationally-recognized stroke programs dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating strokes; and offering applications of the latest technology to treat a patient’s entire needs.

To learn more about CHRISTUS Health’s stroke care locations or to learn your risk for stroke, visit:

CHRISTUS Health’s Stroke Care Services and Locations

From the time a stroke patient enters  an emergency department, to inpatient or outpatient services, or the rehabilitation unit, patients are cared for by professionals with specialized stroke training.

At CHRISTUS, we are very proud that our programs have been recognized by the American Heart Association and we continue to set a gold standard for stroke care.


The Risk Factors for Stroke:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Tobacco Use
  • Diabetes
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)
  • Heart Disease
  • Some Blood Disorders
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption
  • Oral Contraceptives

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance/coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache, with no known cause.

Remember FAST

As for symptoms, remember FAST: face drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech and time.

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?
  • Time: If the patient shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

The CHRISTUS Spohn Neuroscience Program, in South Texas, produced this important video message about FAST and the importance of regarding the signs and symptoms of a stroke.